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Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

Alejandro Aravena, winner of 2016 Pritzker Prize.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2016 by vincentloy

Pritzker Prize, awarded annually to honour a living architect (or architects in partnership) is regarded as the highest architectural award in the world. The past winners of this prestigious prize include Philip Johnson, I.M.Pei, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito, etc. The recipient for this year’s Pritzker Prize had just been announced not long ago, and the winner is Alejandro Aravena.

He is the 41st Pritzker Prize laureate and the first Chilean to receive the award. Alejandro Aravena is an architect born in 1967 in Santiago, Chile. After graduated from Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992, he established Alejandro Aravena Architects in 1994. He was a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design from 2000–2005 and is the Elemental-Copec Professor at his alma mater. He had also written some books on architecture. Other than that, he was a member of the Pritzker Prize Jury from 2009 to 2015, and is an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2006 he became the executive director of ELEMENTAL S.A, a company working on infrastructure, transportation, public space and housing projects. In July 2015 Aravena was named Director of the Architecture Section of the Venice Biennale, with the responsibility for curating the 15th International Architecture Exhibition to be held in Venice in 2016.

Some of the many awards he had received in the past for his creativity, contribution and commitment in architectural field are León de Plata XI Bienal in Venice, Erich Schelling Architecture Medal in 2006,  Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2008, Silver Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008, Index Award winner in 2011, and of course this Pritzker Prize in 2016.

Aravena has a large portfolio of private, public and educational projects in Chile, the USA, Mexico, China and Switzerland. But perhaps more notably, through his firm ELEMENTAL, he has managed to build 2,500 units of social housing, engaging in the public housing policies of governments where he works and taking an opportunistic approach to market forces to generate a powerful impact on lower-income communities.

“Alejandro Aravena epitomizes the revival of a more socially engaged architect, especially in his long-term commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment for all,” explained the Jury in their citation. “He has a deep understanding of both architecture and civil society, as is reflected in his writing, his activism and his designs. The role of the architect is now being challenged to serve greater social and humanitarian needs, and Alejandro Aravena has clearly, generously and fully responded to this challenge.” He is also praised to have ‘”risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today’s social and economic challenges.”

Some of his famous past works include:

Siamese Towers, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile

Monterrey Housing. Monterrey, Mexico

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St Edward’s University Dorms. Austin, Texas, USA

Medical School, Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile

Novartis Office Building. Shanghai, China

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Congratulation, Alejandro Aravena! Before this, not many would know this name. Now, since he is 2016’s recipient of Pritzker Prize, defeating other hot favourites like Steven Holl, Daniel Libeskind, Santiago Calatrava, etc this year, people in architecture field like us would have his name in our minds from now on. He made a mark in the world’s architecture scene, and so his name is worth a part in our memory especially after he won this prestigious Pritzker Prize for 2016.

(Images and information in this post are from http://www.archdaily.com/780203/alejandro-aravena-wins-2016-pritzker-prize/. You can read more about this wonderful architect and his works in that link to Archdaily website).

Frei Otto, winner of 2015 Pritzker Prize.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2015 by vincentloy

Pritzker Prize is an award given annually to honour living architect or architects whose built works demonstrate combination of qualities of talents, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. To summarize that, Pritzker Prize is the world’s highest award for architect, something that every architects dream of achieving.

This year’s winner for the prestigious Pritzker Prize is Frei Otto, a German architect. Unfortunately, he passed away just few days ago before the official announcement. He was the first to receive the award posthumously, and the news of him winning the award was actually informed to him earlier before his death. He was 89.

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Frei Otto, born almost 90 years ago in Germany, has spent his long career researching, experimenting, and developing a most sensitive architecture that has influenced countless others throughout the world. The lessons of his pioneering work in the field of lightweight structures that are adaptable, changeable and carefully use limited resources are as relevant today as when they were first proposed over 60 years ago. He has embraced a definition of architect to include researcher, inventor, form-finder, engineer, builder, teacher, collaborator, environmentalist, humanist, and creator of memorable buildings and spaces.

He first became known for his tent structures used as temporary exhibition pavilions. The constructions at the German Federal Garden exhibitions and other festivals of the 1950s were functional, beautiful, “floating” roofs that seemed to effortlessly provide shelter, and then were easily dissembled after the events.

The cable net structure employed for the German Pavilion at Expo 67 (picture below) in Montreal, prefabricated in Germany and assembled on site in a short period of time, was a highlight of the exhibition for its grace and originality.

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The impressive large-scale roofs designed for the Munich Olympics of 1972 (pictures below), combining lightness and strength, were a building challenge that many said could not be achieved. The architectural landscape for stadium, pool and public spaces, a result of the efforts of a large team, is still impressive today.

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Taking inspiration from nature and the processes found there, he sought ways to use the least amount of materials and energy to enclose spaces. He practiced and advanced ideas of sustainability, even before the word was coined. He was inspired by natural phenomena – from birds’ skulls to soap bubbles and spiders’ webs. He spoke of the need to understand the “physical, biological and technical processes which give rise to objects.” Branching concepts from the 1960s optimized structures to support large flat roofs. A grid shell, such as seen in the Mannheim Multihalle of 1974 (picture below), shows how a simple structural solution, easy to assemble, can create a most striking, flexible space. The Mechtenberg footbridges, with the use of humble slender rods and connecting nodes, but with advanced knowledge, produce an attractive filigree pattern and span distances up to 30 meters. Otto’s constructions are in harmony with nature and always seek to do more with less.

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Virtually all the works that are associated with Frei Otto have been designed in collaboration with other professionals. He was often approached to form part of a team to tackle complex architectural and structural challenges. The inventive results attest to outstanding collective efforts of multidisciplinary teams.

Throughout his life, Frei Otto has produced imaginative, fresh, unprecedented spaces and constructions. He has also created knowledge. Herein resides his deep influence: not in forms to be copied, but through the paths that have been opened by his research and discoveries. His contributions to the field of architecture are not only skilled and talented, but also generous.

For his visionary ideas, inquiring mind, belief in freely sharing knowledge and inventions, his collaborative spirit and concern for the careful use of resources, the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded to Frei Otto.

Information source: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/03/10/frei-otto-is-2015-pritzker-prize-laureate/

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

‘The Shard’ won Emporis Skyscraper Award 2013.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2014 by vincentloy

The Emporis Skyscraper Award for the year 2013, which is considered the world most renowned prize for skyscrapers, goes to London’s ‘The Shard’. The tallest building in western Europe, ‘The Shard’ was chosen by an international panel of experts from more than 300 skyscrapers of at least 100 metres in height and which were completed during the previous calendar year. The award, given by Emporis (www.emporis.com), the international provider of building data. is now in its 14th year.

The 306m tall building designed by Renzo Piano, won over the jury, thanks to its unique glass fragment-shaped form and its sophisticated architectural implementation. Hmm…I had seen this building on my trip to Europe last year. I find that it is just a tall full-glass building that ends sharply at the top. Nothing special or worthy to be awarded the top honour for this skyscraper prize. That’s my personal opinion. Perhaps I didn’t know in detail of how the design is that great or maybe that last year’s competition isn’t strong, and so ‘The Shard’ stands out.

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Second place went to DC Tower 1 at Vienna. The building at 250m high, is now Austria’s tallest building. The interesting feature of the building is one of its four sides that came with folded glass facade (creating ‘in’ and ‘out’ effect). In contrast with the other three typical flat sides of the building, the faceted facade creates a shifting pattern of light and shadow that animates the surface and lends it a rippling quality.

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Coming in third place is Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort at Huzhou, China. It is a luxury hotel and resort by a lake with a height of 102m. It is not a very tall building, but is bold enough, thanks to its massive glowing light at night, striking reflection, and also particularly its torus/ ring-shaped form that leads to several nicknames given to the building like ‘Horseshoe Hotel’ or ‘Doughnut Hotel’.

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For the full list of the top 10 winners of 2013’s Emporis Skyscraper Awards, go to this link: http://www.emporis.com/press/press-releases. Hmmm…I don’t think Malaysia (my country) has any buildings that have won this prize before since its inception. If this prize is started out earlier (before 1997), then I’m sure Petronas Twin Towers will win.

(Information and images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Pritzker Prize 2014 winner: Shigeru Ban.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2014 by vincentloy

Notable Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban has been named the recipient of Pritzker Prize for the year, the highest honour to a living architect presented out annually. He is the second Japanese architect in a row to receive the coveted prize, following on from last year’s winner, Toyo Ito. He is also the seventh Japanese architect, and overall the 37th recipient to have received this award. Congratulation to Shigeru Ban.

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Now, here’s a bit of his background, and particularly his design approach that matters. The architect began his career in the office of Arata Isozaka, after being educated in America at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, and then New York’s Cooper Union School of Architecture. He is best-known for projects such as the Cardboard Cathedral (first image below) in New Zealand, and the Centre Pompidou Metz in France, but is also highly respected for his pioneering use of cardboard in disaster relief projects around the world. He founded his own Tokyo practice in 1985 with little experience and went on to complete a number of residential projects in Japan such as Three Walls (1988), Curtain Wall House (1995) (second image below) and Naked House (2000).

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His first designs for paper-tube structures were used to provide temporary homes for Vietnamese refugees after the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Since then the architect has travelled to sites of natural and man-made disasters around the world to develop low-cost, recyclable shelters for affected communities. He has also used shipping containers as ready-made elements for permanent and temporary structures.

“Shigeru Ban is a force of nature, which is entirely appropriate in the light of his voluntary work for the homeless and dispossessed in areas that have been devastated by natural disasters,” said jury chairman of the award’s selection, Peter Palumbo. “But he also ticks the several boxes for qualification to the Architectural Pantheon: a profound knowledge of his subject with a particular emphasis on cutting-edge materials and technology, total curiosity and commitment, endless innovation, an infallible eye, an acute sensibility, to name but a few.” Last year Ban completed a temporary cardboard cathedral for Christchurch (2013), after the city’s former Anglican cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake. He has also designed an art museum for Aspen, Colorado, that is set to complete this summer.

Shigeru Ban has my respect and admiration. He truly deserves the award. He is not only a successful architect, but also a great humanitarian. He utilizes the knowledge, skill and creativity he has in architecture to help people by building a better world to them through his innovative and ecological design.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web. Most information in this post are from this source: http://www.dezeen.com/2014/03/24/shigeru-ban-wins-pritzker-prize-2014/).

Pritzker Architecture Prize winner for the last three years

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honour “a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” It is founded in 1979 and is often referred to as Nobel Prize in architecture, hence symbolizing the prestige and top honour of receiving this award. I’m now dreaming of whether in future I could have the chance to win this architecture’s highest honor. It’s something very hard to achieve, but I will try my best.

Notable former recipients of this award are Philip Johnson, Sir James Stirling, I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Kenzo Tange, Oscar Niemeyer, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog and de Meuron, Glenn Murcutt, Jorn Utzon, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, etc. I recalled the last time I wrote about this award was in 2010, when Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) won it for that year. Now, it’s time to highlight the recipients of this award from 2011 to 2013.

2011’s winner of Pritzker Prize is Eduardo Souto de Moura from Portugal. The prize was awarded for his work including Estádio Municipal de Braga (image shown below), the Burgo Tower in Porto and the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics—power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and sense of intimacy—at the same time. His design reinforces a sense of history while expanding the range of contemporary expression through beauty and authenticity of materials and construction.

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2012’s winner is Wang Shu from China. He is the first Chinese to win Pritzker Prize (second winner of Chinese descent after I.M. Pei).  His win is generally due to his “unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history” and called his work “timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal”. His architecture has been described as “opening new horizons while at the same time resonates with place and memory”, experimental, and as a rare example of critical regionalism in China. His notable works are Ningbo Museum (image shown below), Library of Wenzheng College, Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art and Old Town Conservation of Zhongshan Street, Hangzhou.

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The most recent winner of this Pritzker Prize for year 2013 goes to Toyo Ito from Japan. Unlike the previous two award recipients, Toyo is more popular and known for creating conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to simultaneously express the physical and virtual worlds. He is a leading exponent of architecture that addresses the contemporary notion of a “simulated” city, and has been called “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects.”  Ito has defined architecture as “clothing” for urban dwellers, particularly in the contemporary Japanese metropolis. This theme revolves around the equilibrium between the private life and the metropolitan, “public” life of an individual. The current architecture of Toyo Ito is aggressively exploring the potentials of new forms. In doing so, he seeks to find new spatial conditions that manifest the philosophy of borderless beings. His notable works are Sendai Mediatheque (image shown below), Bruges Pavilion, VivoCity Singapore, Tod’s Omotesando Building, Kaohsiung’s World Games Stadium, Taoyuan International Airport,  Torre Realia BCN and Hotel Porta Fira at Barcelona.

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(All information and images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web).

Eduardo is Pritzker Prize 2011’s winner…President Obama once wanted to be an architect!

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by vincentloy

Yes, in Barack Obama’s latest speech on a dinner in honour of Pritzker Prize winner for year 2011, Eduardo Souto de Moura, the President of the United States admitted that he once wanted to become an architect. This is a fantastic news…

As you might not know, Pritzker Prize is the prize of highest honour to architect, which can be known as the Nobel Prize in architectural field. Around two months ago, a Portuguese architect, named Eduardo Souto de Moura is awarded the prize for his great contribution to the world of architecture. I do not who he is because he isn’t as famous as some other architects whom had also won the prize before like Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, etc.

After I have seen some of his astonishing works, I found out that his works are rather monumental, simplicity with unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics — power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy at the same time. Anyway, I’m still do not know much on his architectural style or principle, hence I can’t get to understand on what he is trying to achieve from his works in architecture.

Back to the point stressed from the title of this post…yes, President Barack Obama attended the dinner in honor of this successful living architect. There are also press mentioning that Obama turned to politics because he thought that his creativity is not as good as he expected to become a successful architect. On his speech, he praised Eduardo’s simple shapes and clean lines that fit seamlessly to the surroundings. The president also took time to highlight on the architect’s work of Braga Stadium (picture above) which he commended for making the games accessible even to those who couldn’t afford a ticket, just like his beloved Wrigley Field. His other notable work is Paula Rego Museum which is seen as a bulky structure for me (picture above).

Now, I realized there are so many famous stars (like Brad Pitt whom is now a Hollywood star, or even in Asia like Raymond Lam whom is now excelling on his acting and singing career) now whom had a wish in their past to become architects. Why do they give up their dream? Probably because of the heavy workload encountered and number of sleepless nights going to be faced, so they are scared of it already and willing to go on other direction, and yet they turned successful too. Should I? No…this is already my last year…it would be too late and very regretful if I’m giving up now….have to stay on and tough to face ARCHITECTURE! Then, who knows, I might be the future recipient of this Pritzker Prize….(okay, started dreaming already…)